The 5280 Mountain Guide

November 2011

Sweet Ride

Tired of the same old turns? Just switch it up.

I’m feeling pretty good as I skid down Loveland Basin on my snowboard. This isn’t so difficult: Four turns, then five, and then…I shift to my back edge too quickly, and I go down hard. My helmet whaps off the ground. A couple of eight-year-olds zip past. I can hear them laughing.

After more than two decades of skiing, landing in a heap with a face full of snow is foreign territory. But the truth is, I was a bit bored with the ol’ sticks. Snowboarding seemed like a good way to challenge myself while still enjoying what I love about whooshing down the slopes.

I’d signed up for a midweek lesson, and my kind but fierce instructor, Rebecca Carson, had guided me through the fundamentals: buckling in, getting up, falling down, and righting myself. Carson helped drag me off the ground the first few times, but once up I adapted to the idea of changing edges from toe to heel. That’s not to say I didn’t take a lot of spills, but by the afternoon, they’ve become much less epic. So, even after bouncing my noggin off the ground, I dust off the snow, gather my pride, and take off after those mocking second-graders. I can’t catch them—and I probably won’t go head-to-head with Shaun White anytime soon—but I just might leave my skis in the closet next season. —Patrick Doyle

Try It

Where: Loveland Ski Area Adult Ski & Snowboard School, skiloveland.com

Cost: Varies depending on rentals and lift tickets. Group: $84 (full day); private: $110 (1.5 hours) to $375 (full)

Quick Tip: Dorky as they are, wrist guards aren’t a bad idea; better yet, learn how to fall correctly so your hands don’t absorb the impact.

Also Try: Aspen/Snowmass, full day: $129 (group) to $655 (private), aspensnowmass.com; Breckenridge Ski & Ride School, $85 (group, half) to $699 (private, full), breckenridge.com